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Things Change - Kate
R - m/m slash, mild angst, language
Characters: Raven/CM Punk
Summary: The last two years have brought a lot of changes to CM Punk's life.
Disclaimer: We own neither the characters nor the individuals who portray them. Written soley for our own enjoyment.

Just inside the entrance of the restaurant, Raven was met with a rush of warm air. He paused as he shrugged off his leather jacket, deciding that the temperature outside had been dropping faster than he had realized. "I'm meeting somebody," he told the unnecessarily perky hostess, scanning the room as he spoke.

CM Punk hid a smile as he heard Raven's boots behind him. Calmly taking a sip of his Pepsi, he cast a pointed glance at his watch. "Still fashionably late, I see."

"Bad habit," Raven stated unapologetically, circling the small table and dropping into the seat across from Punk. "One of many."

"Tell me about it," Punk intoned, finally breaking into a genuine smile as Raven shrugged off the barb. "I'm glad you called."

"I was in town," Raven explained dismissively. "TNA finally took their show on the road."

"Good for you. I'm sure you missed the long drives and seedy hotel rooms."

"I do some of my best work in seedy hotel rooms."

Punk laughed out loud as the waiter approached to take their order.

[Two years previously]

It took Raven a moment to realize that Colt Cabana was being serious. "I don't think so."

"C'mon, man," Colt persisted. "Just for an hour or so, then you can leave."

"I was just in a cage match!" came the immediate protest. "All I want is a shower and some sleep. And some Valium. Maybe a lot of Valium. Which I doubt I will find at your straight-edge buddy's little party."

"It's not so much a 'party'," Colt equivocated. "It's just a couple of us hanging out at the hotel. So you don't have to worry about fans or anything. We'll just talk and listen to music and kind of come down from the show. You know you're too hyped to sleep now anyway." He sighed at Raven's doubtful expression. "We'll order pizza?" he offered in a last ditch effort.

"Pizza sounds good," Raven admitted. "Bed sounds better. Thanks anyway." Shouldering his gym bag, he started for the arena exit.

"Wait a minute." Colt grabbed Raven's shoulder, pulling him back a step. "Are you sure? It's'll really mean a lot to the Ring of Honor guys if you show up. Just to hang out. Punk, especially. He's really excited to be working with you."

"Hey, Cabana!" CM Punk didn't bother moving the cell phone away from his mouth as he yelled across the hall. "I'm ordering now; you want anything special?"

"Nah, I'll just eat half of whatever you got!" Cabana shouted back, grinning.

"Fuck that, Cabana-boy, you can order your own damn food. Or try to steal something from Joe." Punk's volume dropped only fractionally as he moved down the hall towards them. "You coming?" he asked Raven.

Colt jumped in quickly. "He's really tired, Punkers. I think he just wants to go home."

Mild disappointment was instantly swallowed by the smirk on Punk's face. "Did I wear you out in the ring, old man?" he mocked. "Here I thought I was working with a big-time partier."

Raven paused, more intrigued by the disappointment he saw than the taunts. "I think I could probably stay awake a couple minutes," he conceded calmly. "Get me a large pepperoni."

Punk's smirk widened into a smile as he spoke into the phone. "OK, add three pepperonis to that. Yes, I'm talking to you! Who the hell else do you think is on this call? You think the fucking CIA is..."

Cabana smiled happily at Raven as Punk continued his tirade. "Cool. I'll drive," he decided, leaning down to stuff his ring gear into his bag. "This is gonna be great!"

"That looks really good." Punk eyed Raven's plate enviously.

"You're the dumbass who ordered the salad," Raven unsympathetically pointed out. "What happened to eating four pizzas in one night?"

"First off, you know damn well that was a challenge between me and Joe. My honor was at stake."

Raven rolled his eyes. "And secondly?"

"TV puts on ten pounds," Punk muttered, viciously stabbing a forkful of lettuce and shoving it into his mouth.

Unable to help himself, Raven started laughing. "Next thing you know, you're taking 'workout supplements' from Chris Masters." Punk glowered at him, but kept chewing. "You do look good," Raven admitted conciliatorily.

"Yeah?" Swallowing his food, Punk cocked an eyebrow.

"Yeah." Poking at the food on his plate for a minute, Raven decided to change the subject. "So how's Dreamer?"

"Manic-depressive," Punk answered after a slight frown. "We have a good show and he's bouncing off walls. We have a bad show and he's half a step away from an emotional breakdown."

"Good," Raven nodded. "At least he cares again."

"How's Joe doing in TNA?"

"Fantastic, of course. Who doesn't like Samoa Joe?"

"'re my best friend in the whole world," Homicide slurred, swaying dangerously.

"You're only saying that because I brought the beer," Joe noted absently, focused on his card game with Cabana.

"This is true." Homicide sank to the floor with a deep frown. "This is very true."

"Come on, Colt, you're missing the whole movie," Punk complained, sprawled awkwardly over the seat and arms of the hotel's overstuffed recliner.

"Almost done," Colt stated cheerfully.

Glancing at the game spread out over one of the twin beds, Raven casually asked, "What are you two playing, anyway?"

Joe looked up and blinked deliberately before grinning, "It's five card stud, man. What, they didn't play poker back in your day?" Punk snorted in laughter.

"I might have played it once or twice," Raven stated acidly, shooting a mild glare in Punk's general direction. "But I've never played a version in which Joe could win 18 out of the last 20 hands and still be steadily losing money."

Cabana widened his eyes innocently as understanding slowly dawned on Joe. "Son of a bitch..." he murmured, eying Cabana's impressive stack of cash. "Son of a bitch!"

"Luck of the draw?" Cabana tried quickly before further excuses were drowned out by Homicide's hysterical laughter.

"Ha! You got played, Joe! He totally schooled you, man! Hahaha, he's got your money..."

"Shut up, 'cide!" Joe shouted. "I mean it, shut up!"

A full five seconds later, Homicide's laughter abruptly vanished. "Not funny, Colt." Slowly, he dragged himself to his feet, staggering towards Cabana. "For real, not funny. You don't steal from Joe. Joe's the fucking man, he's my brother, he's..."

"Here we go," Punk whispered to Raven. "Time for Overly Affectionate Drunk Homicide to turn into Belligerent Drunk Homicide."

"Calm down, man," Cabana soothed, raising his palms in a gesture of innocence. "I love Joe, too."

"I don't wan't your fucking love, I want my fucking money!" Joe's rising volume was only infuriating Homicide further.

"I was going to give it back!" Cabana insisted. "I was going to buy more beer with it."

"More beer?" Homicide's rage abated slightly.

"Yes, more beer," Punk laughed, throwing Cabana his jacket. "All three of you can get it. Out there. Away from any of my stuff that Homicide might break."

"Good plan." Grabbing his keys and shoving the money in his pocket, Cabana tilted his head at Punk. "You staying here?"

"Long match tonight," Punk admitted, getting to his feet and stretching his arms. "See you tomorrow, Cabana-boy."

Five minutes later, Cabana had steered both Joe and Homicide out the door. A sudden silence fell in the hotel room.

"So..." Raven yawned theatrically, pulling himself to his feet. "Does that mean I should go, too?"

"You can go if you want," came the too-quick answer, annoying Raven almost as much as Punk's carefully blank expression.

"I didn't ask what I could do; I asked what you wanted me to do," he retorted. Punk swallowed quickly but kept his eyes on the wall behind Raven. "It's not a hard question," Raven pursued after a brief pause.

"Then why don't you tell me?" Punk snapped, giving Raven a challenging glare. "You tell me what I want. Better yet, you tell me what you're waiting around to hear."

"Don't tempt me, kid," Raven growled softly, sparing a quick glance to make sure the door was securely shut and locked.

Punk caught the glance and a smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth as he lifted his chin with a sudden burst of arrogance. "Try me."

"Ugh. Don't tempt me," Punk groaned as he shoved the dessert menu back at Raven.

"Just a little--"

"I promised Paul E. I wouldn't," Punk cut him off.

"Ah." Pulling the menu back to his side of the table, Raven studied it carefully as he continued. "Yeah, I heard you were Heyman's pet project now. You drinking his Kool-Aid yet?" He braced for an indignant yell, but Punk sipped his Pepsi and shrugged.

"I consider him the lesser of two evils right now. It's either this or kissing the McMahons' asses."

"Or going back to Ring of Honor."

Punk frowned at him. "You know me better than that, Raven. I never go backwards."

"My mistake." Raven paused, then lightened his tone. "A shame, really. Your tattoos stood out more back when you were paler."

Punk laughed softly as he signaled the waiter for the check.

"Move. Now."

Raven gave a shaky laugh as he continued to trace the dark lettering imprinted on Punk's abdomen. "Not ready yet," he explained, pressing a kiss into the side of Punk's neck.

"Trust me, I'm ready," Punk argued as he folded one long leg, planting his foot on the mattress and pushing hard in an effort to flip the two of them over.

Raven bit his lower lip as Punk shifted around him, but managed to use his body weight to pin the younger man in place. "Too soon," he admonished, giving Punk's collarbone a sharp bite.

Abandoning physical force with a quiet moan of frustration, Punk switched to a distraction tactic. Wrapping his legs tighter around Raven's hips (and pressing his own erection into Raven's lower stomach as a not-so-subtle reminder), he pulled Raven down for an intense kiss. They both grinned as their tongue-rings met with a metallic click for the hundredth time that night.

Deepening the kiss, Punk dragged his tongue along the smooth underside of Raven's. Feeling him shiver, Punk pivoted hard to the left.

Raven was caught off-guard by the move and cursed as he was flipped onto his back. His painted nails dug hard into the other man's hips as he fought to prevent Punk from grinding down.

Punk pulled his head back just far enough that Raven could see his smirk. "I win," he purred, the flush on his cheeks darkened by the shadow of his tangled blond hair.

Setting his glass down, Punk brushed his dark hair off his forehead. It was a habit he hadn't broken yet; his hair wasn't long enough to get in his eyes anymore. "So you'll tell Homicide I love him, right? Preferably in front of as many people as possible."

"Of course," Raven agreed. "And be sure to tell Hak I said to fuck off and die."

Punk paused while the waiter returned Raven's credit card. "I could have picked this one up."

Raven shook his head as he scrawled his name on the credit card slip. "My treat. For old times' sake."

"Still..." Punk waited until Raven met his eyes before continuing. "Maybe I can pay you back somehow. For old times' sake."

"Sure," Raven agreed dryly, shrugging into his jacket. "Maybe you can give back that nail polish you don't think I know you stole."

Punk cut his laugh short as Raven stood up. "My hotel's five minutes from here," he half-offered, half-demanded. "Come back with me."

Raven gave it some serious consideration before a barely perceptible shake of his head. "You never go backwards, remember?"

Punk's eyes dropped to the table momentarily, but he raised them again with a half-smile as Raven started to leave. "You're right," he admitted quietly, hesitantly adding, "I missed you, Raven."

Raven shoved the door open and flinched as the cold air hit him. "I still miss you, Punk," he muttered between gritted teeth as he pulled his jacket tighter.